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"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." - The Bhagavad Gita

Trust in your Intuition

Trust your intuition

This was different: I felt extremely centred and relaxed at the same time. It picked my curiosity; up to that point, every physical activity I had done was a means to channel a surplus of energy and unprocessed emotions out of my physical body. I always felt lighter and more content after being active. But yoga had a different effect, it invited me to listen to myself from deep within. At the time, I could not define with words what I had experienced, yet it was so powerful. So powerful, I kept going back, every week. From that moment on, the practice of yoga became a constant in my life.

 

Yoga first came into my life in 2001 in the form of a vinyasa yoga class. I do not remember much of the sequence, aside from a long hold chaturanga :). What I do remember vividly to this day was the teacher, as the practice came to an end, instructing us to lift our arms overhead and bring our palms together. Instantly, I felt what I now know to be prana or vitality run down from my fingertips all the way through my entire body.


A tomboy/sporty gal from a very young age  – I started skiing and horse-riding at the age of 5 – I was always moving and exploring new forms of physical activity (a trait which has stayed with me my entire life). But the combination of conscious breathing synchronised with each pose awakened something in me; it allowed me to connect with the more subtle layers of my body. At the age of 21 and after years of physical activity, this was the first time I experienced myself as vibrant energy – not just a physical body made of muscles, bones and connective tissues.

Listen & Observe

Over the years that followed, I continued to explore other styles and lineages in the practice of yoga. I was introduced to Iyengar and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga after moving to NYC in 2004, but the turning point came in 2008. After over a year of feeling completely lost as I drifted through the different stages of grief, and with the encouragement of a concerned friend, I enrolled in my first yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga Institute.

 

I didn't know then, but those seven months spent listening to my breath, learning about the ins-and-outs of my physical body, contemplating my thought process and studying the philosophy of an ancient practice gave me hope, direction and purpose again. The mindful and gentle pace of a Hatha yoga class gave me the time and space to heal while I learned self-empowering tools and techniques to be applied not just on the mat, but more importantly in my daily life. I started to meditate, although it was on and off to begin with.

That training was a very introspective journey that I never started with the intention to become a facilitator, yet, after its completion in 2009 (and after guiding my first class), the calling was too strong to ignore. Yoga and its teachings then became a lifestyle. Everything about it resonated within me and keeps resonating through my body and in my heart.

Observe & listen

Follow your Heart

Raphaëlle Romana

After proclaiming for so long that I would never be a teacher, I decided there and then that this was the path I would follow: I would share my love for this practice. And so I did: I started facilitating classes at Integral Yoga Institute straight after certifying as a Level I Hatha teacher, and went on to take the Level II teacher training six months later. Exactly a year after my first training, I discovered Bikram yoga. I was hooked after my first trial week: my skin was radiant and the feeling of intense detox from practising in a heated environment left me so light and joyful. I knew instantly that I wanted to share this feeling with others. Thankfully, the studio I went to had a karma yoga program, so I signed up for it in order to keep practising as often as I could. 18 months and a lot of savings later, I embarked on the most intense 9 weeks of yoga training I have ever experienced. I certified in November 2010, and, yet again, started teaching at various studios in NYC and Philadelphia as soon as I came back from training. By that point, I had dedicated myself to the practice and the teaching of yoga full-time.

Be Consistent

After 4 years of practising and sharing Bikram & Hatha yoga in Ireland, I took my next certification in 2015; this time it was vinyasa Flow yoga with Frog Lotus Yoga International in Spain. Around the same time I took my first Rocket III class – unbeknownst to me this would be the first stepping stone in my journey to becoming an ashtanga vinyasa yoga & The Rocket facilitator and subsequently a teacher trainer with It's Yoga International (in the Larry Schultz tradition). As an added bonus, the 302 It's Yoga TT included a Yin yoga certification – something I was not aware of as I began the training, but was delighted to learn as I had already included Yin yoga in my own personal practice.

 

After completing my 500hr teacher trainer, I spent two years going back to sit on and observe (and essentially repeat) teacher trainings before obtaining my teacher trainer certification in March 2018. I co-guided a few more trainings that year until guiding my first training in the summer of 2019 in Estonia. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga & The Rocket have been life-changing practices on a personal level. Those three years of preparation and training were not only about sharing something I love with others, but also committing myself to a process of looking deeply inward, refining (and learning new) tools to support my personal growth, first and foremost as a human being and later as a trainer in order to support others in their own journey mindfully, with love and compassion.

Bird Of Paradise

Keep Learning & Exploring

Keep learning and growing

Yoga has been a continuous source of inspiration and guidance in my life. It has accompanied me through every milestone in my adult life so far, taking on different forms. That is why I love all styles of yoga; I find that they all complement each other to help create harmony within and around me, and by extension in the people in my entourage. As of March 2023 I am certified in Hormone Yoga Therapy (the Dinah Rodrigues method), a training I decided to take as I navigate through yet another life cycle. It has been a beautiful journey of exploration and re-connection to my feminine side and I am so excited to share this with others. I wanted to take another training for a while now and it has finally manifested beautifully & organically.

I continuously look for new ways to learn through my personal practice and by taking and guiding classes, workshops and trainings; I believe a consistent practice and continuous training to be the key to being a giving, compassionate and enthusiastic facilitator.

My classes have an emphasis on the breath and focus on alignment, offering hands-on adjustments when needed, to provide a safe environment and to encourage practitioners to steadily develop their practice by cultivating self-awareness and acceptance.

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